A new affordable food hub offering customers weekly groceries at a fraction of high street prices has launched on the Byker Estate.
Byker Community Trust (BCT), part of Karbon Homes, has teamed up with award-winning mobile food club The Bread and Butter Thing (TBBT) to open the new hub every Friday afternoon at 2pm, from the ACANE community centre at Raby Cross.
The hub, funded by Karbon Homes, is one of three that Karbon has rolled out across its neighbourhoods. Local residents are given the opportunity to sign up and gain access to an average of £35 worth of items, including fresh fruit and vegetables, fridge favourites and cupboard staples, for £8.50 per week. There is no joining criteria and initial sign up is free.
Michelle Bell, Assistant Director Byker Community, said: “Following the success of other The Bread and Butter Thing food hubs across Karbon’s neighbourhoods and the continued cost of living crisis, we felt it was important to bring this essential service to the Byker Estate. As part of our Thriving Byker Strategy, we are committed to helping support customers during these challenging times in providing alternative opportunities for our customers.
“Community food projects like The Bread and Butter Thing are becoming vital lifelines for our customers. Customers can access good quality, fresh produce for a fraction of the price of their weekly food shop and hopefully this will help them to maximise their budget.
“Following discussions and meetings with our community partners and customers, it’s great to finally launch this service. We are grateful to our community volunteers who have offered to help pack and hand out the food bags every week.”
Paul Moralee, Community Investment Manager at Karbon Homes, said: “The Byker hub is one of three The Bread and Butter Thing hubs we have invested in and are running in neighbourhoods across the North East. As the cost of everyday essentials like energy and food increases much faster than average incomes, community food projects like The Bread and Butter Thing are becoming vital lifelines for our communities. I hope many customers living in Byker sign up to this new service and benefit from what it offers.”
Gaby Kitoko, Manager of ACANE, said: “When Byker Community Trust and The Bread and Butter Thing approached me to ask if they could use the ACANE centre as a food distribution hub, I had no hesitation in agreeing. At a time when everyone is feeling the pinch through the cost of living crisis, I think this is a wonderful initiative that will help many residents living in Byker.”
Mark Game, CEO The Bread and Butter Thing added: “I’m pleased to be bringing our affordable food clubs to Byker and our newest home at the ACANE centre with the support of Byker Community Trust and Karbon Homes.
“The Bread and Butter Thing is about creating long-term, sustainable routes out of poverty and building strong communities. Our members tell us that over 80% of them have previously had to skip meals to feed their families. By shopping with us, most save at least £25 a week on their food budgets with the added benefits of better quality and a bigger variety of food. This leads to healthier lifestyles and puts money back in people’s pockets.”
Penny Walters, BCT customer and community volunteer has lived on the Byker Estate for eight years. She said: “When I heard about the launch of the new hub on the estate, I wanted to get involved and help out as much as I could. This hub will help local residents to bridge that little gap in food poverty but initiatives like this save so much food going into landfill. Hopefully, word will spread and residents will access this service.”
Kerri Brown from Dibley Street in Byker has lived on the Byker Estate for two years and has also agreed to become a community volunteer. She commented: “This is a great initiative for Byker and the people who live here. I signed up to become a community volunteer because I just want to help out in the community and it gives me confidence. I’ve been getting the word out there and telling everyone how good it is.”
The Bread and Butter Thing, which was founded in Manchester in 2016, works with manufacturers, retailers and the hospitality industry to redistribute food surplus to people who need it the most. Its community vans regularly redistribute over 200 tonnes of food a week to over 100 community locations.
Byker customers can sign up for free by texting 07860 063 304 and they can order weekly food parcels for individuals, a family or large family.
The service is available from the ACANE Community Centre at 1 Raby Cross next to Byker Community Trust’s Neighbourhood Housing Office.